Apartment Renting Today

Saving a Dollar at the Expense of…What?

Several weeks ago, I got stuck behind a woman at Target whose bill totaled $1200.00. She handed over a giant box of coupons, and after about a half an hour of the clerk running them through the scanner, her bill was down fewer than 200 bucks. The clerk looked like he was going to cry.

“What in the world?” I thought/questioned. “I want a piece of that action! I want to make a clerk fear for his job after I’ve come through the line! I want in.”

I watched shows about people who saved so much money couponing, they retired to Tahitian villas and hired manservants to feed them off solid gold plates.

I read websites about couponers who had to rent extra storage space and buy multiple deep-freezers and U-hauls to accommodate all the Axe body spray and Green Giant frozen vegetables they got for free. For free.  But how to do it? Double the what? Stack the what?? Send in the what? Help!

“I know! I’ll have a party,” I thought. “People have parties for all sorts of reasons. Why, there are candle parties and makeup parties and cleaning parties.   I’ll have a party where I invite some friends to my apartment to listen to a couponing expert who will teach us all the secrets and special code words of the couponing world! I’m a genius!”

You know how they say if you think you’re crazy, you’re probably not actually crazy? I believe that goes double for thinking you’re a genius—literally in my case–I once got so caught up in an on-line
Mensa test, I was late for work.

Anyway, I calmed down and realized that sounded about as fun as an advanced calculus party (no offense to those of you who enjoy advanced calculus in your free time).

I still want to save money, but let’s get real, I don’t have time to be driving all over town to save two dollars, nor do I have the space for an extra deep freezer or case of Axe body spray. And I don’t have any friends. That was a joke. I have plenty of room for a deep freezer. My point is, I decided to wade in slowly and not immediately try to get cast on the next episode of Extreme Couponing.

I bought a Sunday paper. I clipped out a dozen coupons from three different stores in reasonable proximity to each other, and set aside the afternoon for my shopping trip.

In store number one, I got the hairy eyeball from an old man parked right in front of the nutrition bars, for which I had a 2-for-1. There were literally 2 bars left. His message was clear: Beat it, sister. I’ve been doing this since you were knee high to a grasshopper and I got here first. So I didn’t get those, but I did score a 48-pack of Claritin with a 5 dollar off coupon. 5 dollars off! That’s impressive. If only I had allergies, I’d have been feeling pretty smug.

In store number two, I got all the items I had coupons for, then had the embarrassing experience of realizing in the check-out lane I had 2 bags of Oreos, a jumbo pack of toilet paper and a bottle of 409. All the makings for a festive Sunday evening.

I never made it to store number three, because I left the coupons for it on my kitchen counter.

I’ll keep trying, but obviously there are some bugs I need to work out of the system.

By Katie McCollow

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